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World Environment Day

What is World Environment Day about?

1. World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated on 5th June every year.

2. WED was established in 1972 during the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, which led to the creation of the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP).

3. Its aim is to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment.

4. It is the ‘people’s day’ for doing something to take care of the Earth.

How is World Environment Day (WED) organized?

1. Each WED is organized around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern.

2. Every WED has a different global host country, where the official celebrations take place.

3. In 2018, India was the host for WED and the theme was focused on Plastic Pollution.

4. In 2019, China is the host for WED celebrations on the theme ‘Air Pollution’.

Why is air pollution posing risk?

1. At present, about 4 billion people- 92% of Asia and the Pacific’s population are exposed to high levels of air pollution.

2. This poses a significant risk on the health of people.

3. According to a new UN report, millions of lives could be saved and one billion people living in Asia could be breathing clean air by 2030 if 25 simple and cost-effective measures are implemented.

Which are the 25 measures to check air pollution?

According to the report, Air Pollution in Asia and the Pacific: Science-based Solutions, which is the first comprehensive scientific assessment of the air pollution in Asia and the Pacific, following measures need to be taken:

1. Strengthen emission standards for road vehicles with special focus on regulation of diesel vehicles.

2. Regularly maintain and inspect vehicles.

3. Mainstream electric vehicles.

4. Provide better mobility options by improving public transport system and integrating it with sustainable urban planning.

5. Control dust from construction and roads (road washing and cleaning, water spraying, barrier protection, increasing green spaces in cities).

6. Reduce emissions from international shipping (use of low-sulphur fuels, widen the ratification and implementation of International Convention for Prevention of Pollution from Ships).

7. Improve post-combustion control (flue gas desulphurization for sulphur dioxide, selective catalytic reduction for nitrogen oxides and high efficiency particulate matter controls like fabric filters, multistage electrostatic precipitators).

8. Strengthen industrial process emission standards (introduction of advanced emissions standards in industries).

9. Introduce efficient brick kilns technology (such as zig-zag, vertical shaft brick kiln or tunnel kilns).

10. Control methane from oil and gas production (improvement in leakage controls, stopping routine flaring).

11. Improve solvent use and refinery controls (introduction of low solvent paints, improvement of solvents recovery in industry).

12. Use environment-friendly refrigerants (phasing down hydrofluorocarbons).

13. Provide clean cooking and heating options.

14. Strictly enforce bans on household waste burning (needs to be complemented with solid waste management plan).

15. Provide incentives for improved energy efficiency in households (encouraging rooftop solar installations).

16. Increase renewable electricity generation.

17. Improve energy efficiency for industry.

18. Recover coal mining gas (encouraging pre mining recovery of coal mine methane gas).

19. Improve livestock manure management.

20. Strengthen management of nitrogen fertilizer application (neem coated urea, substitution of urea and ammonium bicarbonate with ammonium nitrate fertilizer).

21. Better management of agricultural crop residues (alternative off-site use, no-till agricultural practice).

22. Prevent forest and peatland fires (fire spread protection zones, fire alarm and brigade system, prohibition of access to forests during droughts, ban on land clearing).

23. Promote more efficient rice production practices (encouraging intermittent aeration of continuously flooded rice paddies).

24. Stop biogas leakage from wastewater treatment (promoting decentralized wastewater treatment units).

25. Improve solid waste management (encouraging centralized waste collection with source separation and treatment, including gas utilization).